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5 Practical Tips to Promote a Nutritional Mindset for the Whole Family

5 Practical Tips to Promote a Nutritional Mindset for the Whole Family

Cooking can be a very daunting task, especially when faced with countless pans, utensils, and devices you’ve never heard of, as well as advanced cooking phrases and jargon. There are some who left all the cooking to their mothers or fathers, and never learned how to do it on their own. Others are born with the talent and taste, but are too lazy to develop their skills.

Then there are those who are intimidated when they see one single unknown ingredient, which leads them to throw in the towel when it comes to cooking and leave the rest up to the chefs and cooking masters to feed them decently healthy foods every weekend. This kind of habit can literally break the bank! We are living in an era of fast food and quick microwavable meals, so why bother learning to cook?

Our body needs certain nutrients in order to function properly. Yes, nutrients come from food, but that doesn’t mean you can just eat whatever you want. Countless studies, privately or publicly posted, have proved that eating to your heart’s desire, especially microwavable and fast foods, is a huge health risk. Obesity rates are skyrocketing every single year.

Imagine: three out of 10 children ages four to 19 are gaining an extra 6 pounds a year! The regular intake of quickie foods is the main culprit, and apparently, it ups the chances of getting other serious conditions such as diabetes, depression, and heart attacks — these are conditions you want to prevent your loved ones from developing.

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Fortunately enough, we’re also living in an era of agricultural mastery and nutritional science. It’s easy to take the quick route and throw a TV dinner in the microwave, but making a nutritious meal may actually be a lot easier than some of us think. So here are five easy tips to help keep the whole family healthy without spending all day in the kitchen or breaking the bank.

1. Take a second look at the costs of healthier options.

One common misconception is that eating healthy is just too expensive. We look at the bell peppers in the produce aisle and see frozen, pre-cooked, fatty meals two isles away at a better bargain. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be as expensive as it seems.

For example, a stir fry consisting of brown rice, frozen veggies and the sauce of your choice can feed a person for as little as 30 cents a meal. Black bean burritos with lettuce are inexpensive as well. Making your own from scratch (aside from the tortillas themselves) takes no longer than 10 minutes and can feed a family of five for $3.

Both of these meal ideas give ample protein and veggie intake in just one meal and cost next to nothing. There are other cheap, healthy meal ideas to be found all over the web. These are just a start.

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2. Cooking doesn’t have to take all day.

Another misconception about eating healthy is that we just don’t have the time to make healthy meals in our busy lives. Just like the meal ideas in the above tip, cooking doesn’t have to be a big chore.

A breakfast burrito consisting of a scrambled eggs fried together with a handful of spinach and black beans tossed in a tortilla takes as little as five minutes. For those who aren’t fond of yolk, the same recipe can be made by only using egg whites and adding an extra egg.

There are tons of healthy meals that take only minutes to make. Beans of any sort, spinach, potatoes, eggs, frozen veggies and low-fat yogurt are among the many staples of those with busy lives who appreciate a quick homemade meal. Get creative!

3. Foods aren’t better from a can.

You may have noticed I’m a pretty big fan of frozen veggies, the reason being that fresh veggies can be hard on the wallet, while canned veggies can be hard on the body. Simply put, canned veggies are not our friends. While still retaining some of their nutrients, the canning process has been known to take away from their overall nutritional value. It also can’t hurt to stay away from pumping our bodies full of preservatives.

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Frozen veggies have the nutritional value of fresh veggies without the steep price. This goes for most everything, not just veggies. When buying meat, the frozen variety is always a good choice. While still healthy, you’ll rarely find yourself throwing away rotten meat or eating preservatives from a can.

4. Calories aren’t all bad.

Calories have gotten a pretty bad rap today. Yeah, we all go gaga about “protein shakes are healthier” or “gm diet plan works better than intermittent fasting” while ignoring the fact that our bodies simply need calories to function. There is definitely such thing as too little calories. You can’t be healthy and underfed; it just doesn’t work. Everyone’s recommended calorie intake is different and varies based on weight, age, gender, and activity level.

calorie-intake

    Luckily, anyone with a computer and internet connection has access to a variety of different calorie calculators on the web. Sites like Calorie Counter and Calorie King make it easy to know just how many we should be eating. For those trying to lose or put on weight, these calorie calculators as well as other high-tech fitness trackers are motivational and perfect for helping reach your weight goals.

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    5. Trick your brain.

    A somewhat well-known method of making yourself feel fuller faster is to drink water both before and during a meal. This stops us from overeating as our brains often confuse hunger and thirst. However, according to a recent study, this isn’t the only way to keep from overeating.

    Recent research shows that eating more flavorful food tricks our brains into thinking we’ve eaten more than we really have. However, this doesn’t mean we should douse everything we eat in salt. There are many non-sodium-based spices that can add more flavor to our food without adding any unhealthy ingredients. Making use of these can make sure everyone in the family eats the right amount of food in each sitting.

    And that’s it! Many people underestimate how important the food we eat really is. Putting these tips into place can change your family’s eating habits for the better and even change your child’s future tremendously. While there are more things to learn, these tips should act as a great starting point for anyone looking to make significant healthy changes to their life.

    Featured photo credit: FamVeld via shutterstock.com

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    Junie Rutkevich

    Lifestyle writer and author of "Healthy Eating Habits: A Get-Healthy Guide To Tweak And Balance Your Daily Diet"

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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